Georges Antoine Rochegrosse (1859 – 1938)

Georges Antoine Rochegrosse (Versailles 1859 - El-Biar 1938)

La moscacieca

Oil on canvas, 67.5 42.5 cm

Signature top left: G.Rochegrosse

The fun game of a child stands as the protagonist of this Pompeian scene made by the French painter Georges Antoine Rochegrosse (Versailles 1859 - El-Biar 1938).

Georges Rochegrosse, French historical and decorative painter, was born in Versailles in 1859. His life was marked by important artistic and literary figures from childhood: abandoned by his father, he grew up with his stepfather, the great poet Théodore de Banville, in an intellectual and stimulating environment. He began studying with Alfred Dehodencq and at the age of 12 entered the Académie Julian under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre, where he later became a teacher.

Thanks to the freer environment of the Académie Julian, Rochegrosse also participated in the École des Beaux-Arts, finishing runner-up at the Prix de Rome twice. In 1883 he won the Prix du Salon, which allowed him to visit Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Around 1890 he married his beloved Marie Leblond, who for about 30 years was the protagonist model of his heroines.

Beginning in 1900, Rochegrosse and Marie spent winters in El-Biar, Algeria, where the painter often found oriental backgrounds for his compositions. 

He debuted at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français in 1882 with "Vitellio dragged through the streets of Rome by the plebs". He also participated in the Salon de la Société des Aquarellistes Français. In Algeria, he was active in the Salon des Artistes Algériens et Orientalistes, the Union Artistique de l'Afrique du Nord and the Syndicat Professionnel des Artistes Algériens. He was awarded the Prix du Salon in 1883; he became a member of the Salon in 1887; a bronze medal at the 1889 Universal Exhibition and a medal of honor in 1906. He was appointed Officier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1910 and was a permanent member of the Salon jury.

Using his narrative skills and undisputed expertise, Rochegrosse illustrated several literary works, including Aeschylus' "L'Orestea" in 1889, Flaubert’s "Hérodias" in 1892, Flaubert’s "Salammbô" in 1900, and works by Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier and Prince Demidoff.

Raised in the shadow of a literary giant like his stepfather, Rochegrosse boldly followed in the footsteps of Delacroix: in his early years, the subjects came from Egyptian, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, for which Banville helped him rebuild the authentic details. The end of this period was marked by the great success of his "Death of Babylon" at the Salon. Rochegrosse was fascinated by Wagnerian mythology and painted The Master Singers of Nuremberg and Tannhäuser, while Parsifal inspired him for Knight with Flowers. In his next phase he dealt with allegorical themes and returned to dramatic subjects with historical foundation, such as Assassination of the Emperor Geta. Beginning in 1900, spending the winters in El-Biar, Rochegrosse preferred to choose subjects that would allow him to take advantage of the eastern scenery that surrounded him. 

His hunger was such that even in Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle praises one of his paintings.

The present composition set in a Roman interior can be considered the fruit of his first production, That still strongly influenced by the teachings of de Banville and that Neopompeian culture spread thanks to the intensification of excavations in the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. 

The object is in good condition

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